#62 The Definition Alignment

Hello, friends.

Just getting back from Drift's HYPERGROWTH conference but wanted to start sharing a few takeaways (I'll share more over The next few editions of NFTF). Here we go.

Definition Alignment

Last week I was working with two agency (creative + development) teams on behalf of a B2B service provider in the financial industry. We're in the process of implementing a few new lead generation technologies that support its business goals.

The engagement has been going a little slower than expected. Thinking through it, I realized a significant mistake I made over the last two weeks. I didn't align our "trade" definitions.

The technical lead was using the word "strategy" with a completely different meaning than I define it. This caused confusion and frustration. Finally on a prep call before our planning meeting, when he used the word "strategy" in a sentence, I asked him to please tell me what he means by that word. I asked him to define it for us on the call so we knew his definition. Once we learned how he defined the word, we could align. Since this call, the team's velocity has increased and the client has gone from frustrated to excited.

The importance of this small but crucial activity (of aligning definitions) was confirmed yesterday at HYPERGROWTH.

One of the speakers, Molly Graham, talked about this very thing as a key factor for surviving scale in business. She's led teams at Facebook, Google and others. She says it like this, "Be skeptical of words with more than one syllable." She went on to say any words with more than one syllable need to be verified. If someone says the word "manager", you should ask them, how they define it.

If you work with a team and one of these following words is mentioned, ask the person to define it. This will save you time and create more unity and value. Here are a few of the words on my list.

  • Strategy
  • Product manager
  • Marketing
  • Planning
  • Design
  • Content strategy
  • Leadership
  • Growth
  • Culture
  • Value
  • Values
  • KPI
  • User experience
  • User interface
  • Information architecture

What I'm working on next is documenting a living glossary for every engagement or product team so everyone can reference how we define certain words as a team.

What words are on your list?

Until next time.


- David

P.S. Enjoyed this wonderful mini doc about a couple of ping pong tables and the characters that occupy them.
P.P.S. Are chatbots trending or trendy? Either way, here's a good resource of examples.
P.P.P.S. The Google Flights redesign is solid. Worth revisiting if it's been a while.

Shameless Promo: My friend Marty and I released a guide to help people run successful discovery workshops. If that's of interest, here's a link to get $14 off.

Press ESC to close.